May 2007

Benitez is Gone

Earlier today, I speculated that Armando Benitez could find a new home in no time.  A couple of hours ago, I read that the Giants were going to change things up.  It’s already settled: Benitez was sent to Florida (along with some cash, presumably) for Randy Messenger.

Benitez would appear to step right into the closer’s role for Florida, while the Giants will now turn to Brad Hennessey.  I can’t wait until the Marlins take their next trip to Shea Stadium: I’ll bet that’s a trip Benitez would prefer to skip.

By Jeff Sackmann
Brew Crew Ball

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Runelvys and Bocachica

More little transactions: Runelvys Hernandez, pitching for the Pawtucket Red Sox, is taking the out clause in his contract that allows him to move on if not on the MLB roster on June 1st.  There might not be a spot waiting for him with his former team, the Royals, but he’d fit right in with the Nationals right now.

And, it’s a good thing the A’s got Dee Brown, because they lost Hiram Bocachica on waivers to the Padres.  I don’t think Bocachica is going to do for the Pads what Jack Cust has done for the A’s, but then again, it would be really entertaining if he did.

By Jeff Sackmann
Brew Crew Ball

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Jeff Passan’s Most Overpaid Team

Here’s an interesting article from the Yahoo columnist that includes his selections for most overpaid players so far this year.  Some of the blurbs are downright painful, like the reminder that Jason Kendall is earning more than $13M for this year’s "production."

I bring it up because overpaid players are so often a source of trade rumors on a thin market.  After all, do you think it would take much to pry Kendall away from the A’s?  Shea Hillenbrand away from the Angels?  It seems that clubs falling in the standings with money to burn (Yankees, anyone?) can always take on more salary, making deals like last year’s Bobby Abreu acquisition, which cost little more than money.

The All-Overpaid team doesn’t have a lot of candidates for that sort of deal, because many of the players are already playing for one of the rich teams, or–in Kendall’s case–aren’t going to be coveted by anybody.  But there are a few candidates.  The most notable is Scott Rolen.  I would be surprised if he were traded, but if Walt Jocketty found a GM more optimistic about Rolen’s decline years than he is, the Cards could certain use the payroll flexibility. 

The other names that pop out are relievers Armando Benitez and Scott Eyre.  Benitez was rumored in some salary-dump swaps in the offseason, and if he strings together a couple more poor outings, he could end up out of the 9th inning.  If that’s the case, he could end up a poor man’s (well…maybe "poor" isn’t the best way to put it) version of 2006 Francisco Cordero.  Eyre doesn’t offer the same potential, but the further he sinks into Lou Piniella’s doghouse, the more likely he’ll have a chance to return to form in a new uniform.

By Jeff Sackmann
Brew Crew Ball

A’s Acquire Dee Brown

It doesn’t get much more minor than this, but the A’s have made yet another move to bolster their outfield depth, grabbing Dee Brown from the D-Backs for cash.  I guess when you have a ton of minor league outfielders on the major league roster, you have to find somebody to man the position in Sacramento.

What strikes me as odd, though, is that a few weeks ago the A’s sent Charles Thomas to Milwaukee for catcher J.D. Closser.  Oakland did need the catching insurance, but in a depth-for-depth swap, you’d think that Billy Beane could convince Doug Melvin to take someone other than Thomas in exchange.

By Jeff Sackmann
Brew Crew Ball

D’Backs Sign Max Scherzer

The parallels between Luke Hochevar last year and Max Scherzer this year were striking — both were first-rounders who didn’t sign because they held out for a bigger signing bonus, then pitched for the Fort Worth Cats — but the story ended differently this year.  Instead of going back into the draft, Arizona signed Scherzer

I would imagine Arizona hopes that isn’t the only way the Scherzer story ends up differently than Hochevar’s: Luke isn’t exactly dominating Double-A so far this year.  As for the impact on this year’s draft, Scherzer probably would’ve gone higher than 11th (where he was picked in ’06), but this year’s draft class is extremely deep, so every team with a pick in the top 15-20 should be able to grab a top-tier talent.

By Jeff Sackmann
Brew Crew Ball

Blanton’s Durability Makes a Trade Unlikely

Also from K-Ro’s latest, Billy Beane isn’t ruling anything out, but at the same time, he has a hard time envisioning trading Joe Blanton any time soon:

"He’s a lot better than he gets credit for, and he’s incredibly durable, too. He’s a 200-inning pitcher with quality stuff. And he’s getting better and better."

Blanton’s peripheral stats are also cited as being on the rise, and we all know how Beane values such things, but don’t underestimate how much he and the A’s value the durability.  Year after year, the A’s are riddled with injuries — Bobby Crosby, the outfielders, Rich Harden, the list goes on and on — and having someone as dependable as Blanton to pencil in for 30+ starts a year has to be comforting.

Come mid- to late-July, you know the A’s will be active, they always are, but don’t look for Blanton to be someone involved in any deal.

Tom Goyne is the author of Balls, Sticks, & Stuff, a Phillies-centric site, and maintains the Phloggers’ Pheeds page, a source for the latest commentary from around the "phlogosphere". Recently, he teamed up with his brother to launch Roto Front Office.

Phillies Kicking Brian Fuentes’ Tires

The latest from the prolific and well-connected Ken Rosenthal:

A member of the Phillies asks, "Is Brian Fuentes available?" Well, not yet — and maybe not at all if the Rockies’ resurgence continues. The Rockies will discuss Fuentes, their left-handed closer, only if they fall out of contention. Fuentes, who turns 32 on Aug. 9, is earning $3.5 million this season, and eligible for free agency after next season.

The search for quality bullpen arms will likely be a theme that lasts throughout the season for the Phillies, given that Brett Myers has proven to be a mere mortal, unable of pitching two innings everyday and that Tom Gordon is probably used up.

From this phan’s perspective, I fear that by the time some quality relievers shake loose from the trade tree, the Phillies themselves will have fallen out of contention.

Tom Goyne is the author of Balls, Sticks, & Stuff, a Phillies-centric site, and maintains the Phloggers’ Pheeds page, a source for the latest commentary from around the "phlogosphere". Recently, he teamed up with his brother to launch Roto Front Office.

Ozzie Shoots Down Trade Talk

The always quotable Ozzie Guillen spoke out on recent trade rumors involving Jermaine Dye and Mark Buerhle [Chicago Sun-Times]:

”It’s never been talked about,” Guillen said. ”Maybe Kenny has it in his mind, but he’s never said one thing to me about it. I want to go all the way to the end with these guys, see what we can do with these guys.

”I’ll be honest with [the media], I’ll be honest with the fans, I’ll be honest with me. If we get to that point, I’ll be the first one to tell people, ‘It’s going to be hard to compete.’ But as long as we feel we can win, we’re going to keep those guys.”

Guillen did emphasize that he believes there’s a certain amount of pressure to make a postseason run this season. Not because of payroll or job-security concerns, but because he doesn’t know how long the window will stay open.

”I’ll be completely honest with you and tell you I don’t know what kind of team we’re going to have next year,” Guillen said. ”We have a lot of guys that are free agents, we have a lot of guys in the minor-league system that are close to coming up.

You have to admire Guillen’s determination to win, however, there might come a point in July when general manager Kenny Williams does come to Guillen with talk of trades.  With both the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers so far out in front of the rest of the division, even making the Wild Card could prove to be difficult.

Getting some complimentary players via trade to go along with the prospects Guillen mentions might be a way for the White Sox to rebuild quickly after what is sure to be an offseason with a lot of roster turnover.

Tom Goyne is the author of Balls, Sticks, & Stuff, a Phillies-centric site, and maintains the Phloggers’ Pheeds page, a source for the latest commentary from around the "phlogosphere". Recently, he teamed up with his brother to launch Roto Front Office.

Injuries the Cause for Lack of Trades?

When Tim asked me to cover today, in exchange for 20,000 Schrutebucks my first reaction was "Sure, why not? It’s not as if there is anything to write about anyway…"  To many a baseball fan, it certainly seems as if there is little to no discussion of trades to be had anywhere.

If you are like me, you always wonder what might be going on behind the scenes that the average fan doesn’t hear about.  I always assume that even though nothing is leaking out, surely MLB’s general managers are scheming and exchanging clandestine phone calls and emails.  After all, many of the trades that come about are ones that we never saw coming

But if Pat Gillick is to be believed in a recent interview with Sports Radio 950 in Philadelphia, then where there is no smoke, there really is no fire at all.  Show host Jody MacDonald, asked Gillick how much discussion of trades was going on around the league, not just as it pertains to the Phillies, but in general.  Gillick’s response was, "below minimum."

Gillick typically plays his cards close to the vest, but in this case, there would be no reason to play coy.  Furthermore, Gillick cited an abnormally large number of depth-depleting injuries as the cause and if you peruse the daily reports, it doesn’t look like he’s wrong.

Tom Goyne is the author of Balls, Sticks, & Stuff, a Phillies-centric site, and maintains the Phloggers’ Pheeds page, a source for the latest commentary from around the "phlogosphere".  Recently, he teamed up with his brother to launch Roto Front Office.

MLBTR Coverage

I’m going out of town Wednesday and Thursday on business, my first trip to California (Pasadena).  In my absence, Jeff Sackmann and Tom Goyne will fill in.  Enjoy! 

I don’t want to leave you hanging, so here are some links for the evening.

The Hardball Times’ Steve Treder takes a look at Steve Dalkowski, perhaps the hardest thrower in the history of baseball.  Definitely an interesting read.

Fire Joe Morgan takes on yet another Darin Erstad lovefest.

Dave Stewart is writing for these days, and he’s not impressed with the Roger Clemens signing.

Check out Peter Abraham’s Myth vs. Reality post over at the LoHud Yankees Blog.

Tim Cowlishaw offers up some Mark Teixeira trade scenarios involving the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Tigers.

RotoAuthority takes a look at the fantasy prospects of new Twins starter Kevin Slowey.

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